I woke up belly expanded, heart pounding, back twinging. The belly part stemmed from my poor decision to binge on toast last night. I’d decided to skip the wine – it’s too easy for the whole bottle to disappear and I need all the energy I can hang on to this week – but around 10 p.m., my sweet tooth kicked in. Mugs of tea with milk and stevia didn’t assuage it. One piece, I thought. Toast to me is what Ben & Jerry’s is to other people. My Turkish Delight. The warm, slight crunch of the bread, topped with melting butter and jam… it’s a little bit of heaven. Or in the case last night, a lot of bits of heaven. If toast were mediation, I’d be permanently ensconced in Nirvana. But the sweet comfort food hits me more like I imagine crack would. More. More more more. By the time I scarfed the last bit, four pieces had gone by. Jennifer McGreedypants. I should’ve just drank – much better option calories-wise. (What does it say that I’d rather be drunk than fat? That’s a whole memoir/cultural thesis right there.)

Unsurprisingly, a nightmare haunted my sleep. He’d already broken into one house, raped my friend. He came after me next. First he showed up among the crowd when my band (shocking that I would be in a band, given I neither sing nor play an instrument!) played. I knew immediately what he was doing there, but no one could help. I avoided him as long as possible, sent him away with the crowd, called the cops, to no avail. As the shower poured over me later, I heard the window hinges coming off. He was in before I could run or even get dressed. As I fought against him – my naked, slippery body no help – I heard a scream from another room, realized he’d brought along someone else to rape my daughter. My mind yanked me into consciousness, where I forced myself to finish the moment, imagined grabbing the hairdryer, spinning to crack him hard alongside his head, knocking him down. He hit his head on the tile, stunning him long enough for me to jump on his throat, crush (I hoped) his windpipe before running to save my daughter. Awake, I thought about the seeming inevitability of rape and worried I hadn’t given my daughters enough tools to fight with. (One out of three women? And yet the continued epidemic of violence is less newsworthy than relatively rare health risks like Swine Flu. If it happens to millions of women, I guess it’s just “normal.”)

My back? I don’t know what happened. Seven hours of pouring beer at the Rooster McClintock show? Too much strain at the gym? The place where all my stress opted to reside? The ache turned into a twinge, the kind that makes me hesitate to take a step lest it spasm. Saturday I’d checked the swell forecast and thought this might be the week when I finally paddle out at Harbor. All the training at the gym, the weight loss, the strength gain, is ultimately for this – yet, 48-hours later I’m afraid to walk, can’t imagine paddling. Ibuprofen and yoga helped yesterday; will continue on that plan today. What would it be like to just go see a doctor? What if health care were something one could take for granted? Wouldn’t that be a sweet thing in the world?

And why stressed? Other than the kids returning to school – no! Summer, come back! – life abounds with opportunity. Too much so, perhaps, and money is still tight, always tight, as each paycheck goes toward catching up or car repair, but I feel I’m on the verge of stepping forward about to hit another milestone in my personal evolution. This will be the year that I finally get a grip, achieve something meaningful, tuck cash into savings, fix my credit, shorten the distance between home ownership and perpetual renting. Surf Harbor, Patrick’s Point. I mean, it could be. If I can lay off the damn toast.


Nick’s blood sugar was 356 at 1 a.m., still 356 at 5 a.m., despite the earlier correction. Perhaps his pump tubing had kinked, interfered with insulin delivery. I don’t know. I hope the number returns to normal range before school. Hard enough to be a freshman without diabetes.  Freshman. Teenagers. Ack. I wish I could tell them, make them understand how hard it is for Bobby and me to lose our sweet, adoring children in exchange for surly, spacey adolescents. If they could understand how their disdain wounds us, their neglect worries us. Kaylee is conscientious, no doubt, but disinterested in her parents. Nick sees us as a temporarily necessary embarrassment. Chelsea continues to make me crazy even as an adult. They’ll all be okay, I’m sure. And I exaggerate their disregard. Sort of. We had a lovely trip to San Francisco, a glorious hike to Hidden Beach (the younger two, not Chelsea, who has too many grown-up responsibilities to easily get away). The family core holds steady, even as I stumble across the bubbling surface.